The industrial techno that Blawan and Pariah pump out as Karenn has an intrinsically physical nature to it. That’s a result of both the analogue equipment the duo use to make music and of the setting in which it seems destined to be played at. Whether gully warehouse raves really still exist on a widespread level is rather inconsequential, but it’s impossible to avoid that venue as the ideal place to hear Karenn play music. There are no bathrooms, security or ventilation in Karenn’s world and we’re all the better for it. The drugs your taking are probably bunk, but that’s all for the better in this hardline, rough-edged techno dystopia. It’s all about submerging oneself in the pure physicality. Karenn’s remix of Delta Funktionen’s “Onkalo” is the second track in the below file. The remix will be released via Delsin on May 6.
Are you down with “TFB”? Well you should be. The prevailing trend in techno over the past few months has been to go as big, chunky and dark as possible, but few can pull off the analogue sound quite like Kowton…. Well expect for Karenn, the collaboration between Blawan and Pariah. All three of them on the same cut is kind of like Hannukah come early (l’chaim). For now, we’re stuck with short previews of the original and remix, but there’s something to be said for allowing anticipation to bubble up. These cuts are not for the weak of heart so stay away if you don’t think you can stomach them. Stream Kowton’s “TFB” and Karenn’s remix below.
As individuals, Blawan and Pariah are two of the most talked about names in British electronic music, both mutating and exploiting bass music into new and exciting territories. As Karenn, the duo are techno masterminds, explorers of all things dark and grimy. Last week, the duo released their second vinyl-only EP, SHEWORKS004, consisting of six stripped down/bare bones tracks with immense propulsion behind them. The EP is not for the faint of heart, but if you have a powerful system at your disposal, you would be remiss not to rinse it. And speaking of rinsing, Karenn took over Hessle Audio’s weekly Rinse.FM show last Thursday to celebrate the EP release. You can stream snippets of SHEWORKS004 below and download Pariah and Blawan’s Rinse.FM mix here (right click).
The below quote in from David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello’s Signifying Rappers, a discussion on hip hop and race, as well as a thorough criticism of rapidly changing, turn of the century media forms. I felt it was probably more worthwhile than the brief commentary I was going to plaster here instead.
You may now be getting some hazy idea of the sorts of really quite scary possibilities with which the rap we like is replete. And, hazier, of how complicated this stuff of sampler-from-outside can be. What’s remained passing strange, for use, is the vague threat’s appeal. The unease and ambivalence with which the rare white at the window loves rap renders that love no less love. Whence the fear, though, is really no matter. For look at the world, at the masses we’re part of. At what you look at closest. The plain 80s data is that, whereas love, devotion, passion seem only to divide, it’s fear and strangeness that bind crowds, fill halls, unite Us, somehow, as audience, under the great tent.
Admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of “Rift” the first track previewed off of Pariah’s first release on R&S Records since 2010. It’s rumbling, breathy beat didn’t hit me like past Pariah releases have and I had trouble rinsing it more than a few times. A very solid track in its own right, but it missed the emotive quality of his past releases. Whereas “Rift” was clearly made for the dark clubs of the London underground, “Signal Loss” situates itself in the bedroom. Airy vocals dot a beautiful chord pattern as percussion shuffles below. There is no release date for RS1207 unfortunately. Stream “Signal Loss” below.